Bent Throttles

Journal of the Racing & Record Aircraft Special Interest Group of IPMS-UK

No. 20, October 2001

Reviewed by Jim Schubert

I like racers - planes, cars, boats and motorcycles (no trucks please - I'm biased) but I like race planes the best of all.  And if you're like me, you need to belong to this SIG.  The quarterly newsletter is always worthwhile.  This issue's contents include:

  • New Products - Kits, Decals, Drawings and Books

  • 1914 Sopwith Gordon Bennett Racer

  • High Planes 1/48th "Nemesis" Kit Review and Cockpit Photos

  • Latest High Planes Kits Reviews

  • Vintage Models Macchi Mc.72 Kit Review

  • Revell's Air Racers Twin Kit Review

  • Les Avions Caudron Renault - Book Review (I want to buy this one.)

  • Koku-Fan Air Racing Illustrated - Book Review

  • Reno Racing News

The Nemesis and Sopwith racers are the stars of this issue.  Jon Sharp's Nemesis Formula 1 racer's first race was at Reno in 1991.  It won.  It then ran up a string of 44 consecutive wins.  The name is appropriate!  It also holds the Formula 1 record for the fastest ever qualification lap at 263 MPH.  This is from a box-stock Continental 85 hp engine!  After winning its 44th race, at Reno in 1999, it was donated to the NASM.  The model, in 1/48th scale has a span of only 5 1/4" (134mm) and a length of 4 1/32" (114mm); it's small!

My favorite article in this issue is on scratchbuilding the second of Sopwith's two planes, serials 1214 and 1215, built to contest the 1914 Gordon Bennett Trophy Races.  Due to the events of August 1914, the race was cancelled and the two racers went instead to the RNAS.  1214 was essentially a Tabloid with a vee-strut undercarriage without the Tabloid's "hockey sticks".  1215, the subject of the article, was an altogether different airplane. The mainplanes comprised Tabloid wing warping panels with a revised upper center section and simple root fillets on the lower.  The fuselage and fin/rudder unit was a bit radical for conservative Sopwith at that time.  The engine cowling was of bullet shape fully enclosing the 80 hp Gnome rotary engine save for a small circular inlet around the propeller shaft and a small air outlet in the bottom, rear, center.  The circular cross section of the cowling faired gradually into a box section at the leading edge of the tailplane, which was of conventional Sopwith design.  The vertical tail featured small dorsal and ventral fins spanned by a one-piece rudder.  The propeller even had a small spinner on its hub.

This is a very pretty, albeit plain, little airplane.  Save for the engine-turned bare metal cowling, it was doped aluminum overall.  The only markings were the large serial in black on a white rectangle on either side of the rudder and a large Union jack under each lower mainplane.  It looks like a fun project.

To join, contact the SIG Leader, Anders Bruun.  The quarterly journal and membership cost ten pounds sterling, or equivalent in a major convertible currency, paid in cash.  IPMS membership is recommended but not required.  Take a look at the new web site.  There's a lot more here than I expected.

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